Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Country runnin'

DistanceTimeRoutePace
1.5 mi.??'round the bend and back from the dell??


Ahhhhh, the country. What better way is there to spend the weekend then packing up the old wagon, loading the kids in the rumble seat and heading out into the country for some good ol' fashioned country runnin'?

That's what I did this weekend. And let me tell you, there's nothing like running out past the edge of civilization, where the only hazards are the great wide open and the occaisional moonshine still or meth lab.

Being an amicable traveling companion, I took one of my non-running friends out for a jog with runinng-celebrity Jon Segal. We'll call him hairy-bear. A regular gym rat, he wore basketball shorts and a new pair of Converse Chuck Taylors (all-stars) out onto the road. They are, in his words, athletic shoes after all.

It was truly an adventure. We were running down a trail, behind some abandoned industrial complex, when a dirt bike came ripping through from the other direction. It was a narrow trail and the dirt-biker, who I swear had a skull painted onto his helmet, didn't look like he was going to stop.

Visions of "Mad Max" flashed through my head as the bloodthirsty biker gunned his two-stroke engine and set us in our sights. It was fight or flight for me and hairy. Since I had neither a four-foot length of chain or a mace on me, I turned tail and ran. Out in the open, the biker gunned past us and did a wicked-bad jump off a bunch of rocks, breifly turning to look at us tauntingly as he flew in the air and buzzed off into the distance.

A few minutes later, my new running buddy asked a question: Why is running so much harder than using the elliptical trainer? I'm still not sure what the answer is, but I'm guessing that, in the gym on the eliptical trainer, you don't have to flee from crazy hick dirt-bikers.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Football!!! In Prison!!!

DistanceTimeRoutePace
???60 mins.Home to PG High Brisk


Welcome to The Longest Mile: The official Web site of a hilarious new movie starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds. They play a ragtag bunch of prisoners who take on an elite team of prison guards in a football game. In the process, they score a couple points for human dignity in the face of The Man.

HEY!!! WAIT A SECOND!!! This isn't The Longest Yard, it's The Longest Mile. (Although you wouldn't be able to tell it from all the people who stumbles here with the Google search The Longest Mile Movie.) Although I'm prone to bits of juvenile anger, you're not going to find Billy Madison here. I like to smile a big toothy grin, but I'm no Chris Rock. And, although I have been married to Lonnie Anderson and was the star of Smokey and The Bandit Four: Truckin' in Heaven, I'm not Burt Reynolds. No football. No prison guards.

What you'll find here is a blog about a ragtag fat guy trying to run a few miles, in the process scoring a couple points for human dignity in the face of The Flan (and other delicious deserts).

On that topic, I ran about an hour yesterday. I still feel like I'm not in great shape. Actually, it feels like my physical condition has slipped quite a bit since the marathon. Everything is still a struggle. I had a big bowl of Eel and rice for lunch yesterday, and, about 10 minutes into my run yesterday I burped. As if you can't guess what happened next, I'll enlighten you. I burped up little eel chunks! Gross!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

About six miles...

I'm back on the training train!!

Chug chug chug.

Sore hip. Sore calf. All aboard!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Carnivale!

Welcome to this week's edition of The Carnival of The Runners, your premiere compilation of running posts from around the Internet, and beyond.

I'll be playing carnie this week, (I've had teeth pulled to get me into the part.) so hold onto your wallets and your wives. Say, wouldn't that pretty lady like to win this here panda bear, or this kewpie doll? C'mon, three shots for a dollar, everyone wins a prize!

I used to live in Wisconsin and developed a healthy taste for beer and cheese, so imagine my surprise when I found that there was an actual marathon in the obesity capital of the United States, Green Bay. Not only did these people run a race there,
but some guy proposed to his special lady at the finish line. They both got medals, she got a ring and he got a ball and chain.

Moving from one notch on the rust belt to another, the Cleveland Marathon was this weekend as well. One woman left beautiful North Carolina to join Chief Wahoo at the race. Everything was going good, until her her ipod failed. Would she crack under pressure without the aid of David Bowie, would her dreams turn to stardust?

Following the New York Herald Tribune's advice, we go west, to the Ogden Marathon, where our correspondent qualified for Boston, praise Joseph Smith!

Now, crossing borders, we find that The Wall stretches across oceans and continents. Just ask Thomas. He ran the Copenhagen Marathon and hit it, hard. And from his picture, it doesn't look like he has much padding to cushion the blow.

Our final race report comes from far away, as we travel back in time to a born-again runner's youth. The first marathon, the one that ended in pain. Speaking of time travel, Seebo uses a training run to muse on the past of Philadelphia's haunted block.

In other news, this Twin Cities resident got a stomach ache after her trainining run. But instead of bellyaching about that stomach ache, she turned indigestion into inspiration with her creative use of her arts and crafts skills.

In New York, Carnival founder Derek Rose goes on a run with another blogger. They have a blogtacular time, and you can read their Rashomonesque reports of the experience here and here. Completing the New York round-up, we have Brooklyn, who brings it Dave Chapelle-style when talking to his knees. And, saving the best for last, Chelle delivers a treatise on sex and running.

Well, I feel like I've spent an hour on the Tilt-a-Whirl with a stomach full of corn dogs and cotton candy, so I better go. See you at next week's carnival.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Following suit

Wedding season is here again! But something's different this year.

Is it the brides? No, they're still beautiful and blushing?

Is it the wine? No. Still drunk.

Is it the conversation with strangers at your table? No. Still careening wildly between awkward and stilted.

Oh. It must be my jacket size. For the last round of weddings, I had to rent a tux. Jacket size 50. This year, I'm wearing an old suit, bought six years ago during college. Jacket size: 46 long.

Thanks, running. You're the best.

Don't forget, tomorrow I host The Carnival of The Runners.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Down a deserted road...

DistanceTimeRoutePace
between 5 and 656:40 mins.Down South Boundary Road???


For six months, it's been taunting me: a road, closed off to traffic, through the scrubby hills of deserted Fort Ord. Yesterday afternoon, it was finally time.

I was the only person there, alone with the ghosts of five decades of military training chasing me down the lonesome highway. Around the first bend, I discovered the perils of running an unfamiliar road: you don't ever know what's coming next.

In this case, it was hills. Lots and lots of hills. Actually, it was a big hill that rose in three tiers. It took me about 12 minutes to get up it, so it was probably a mile long. Then, around another corner, more hills.

After 34 minutes, I turned around. It took me 22 minutes to get back to my car. Go figure.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I snooze, I lose.

He who hits the snooze bar 10 times gains weight back quickly and is late for work.

I suck.

The Longest Movie (those near and far Wars)

I had tickets to the midnight showing of Star Wars. They let us into the theater at 9:45 p.m. and so we sat in a crowded, sweaty theater for more than 2 hours before the movie started.

Then the movie, with trailers, was another 2 and half hours long.
I won't spoil anything. It's worth seeing, if for no other reason than final closure. Sure were a lot of freaks out. But that's part of the charm of going on opening night.

I'm tired today.

May the force be with you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The end of silence

DistanceTimeRoutePace
3 MILES29.07General Jim Mooreless than 10 minutes per mile


OK. I'm back. Well, not completely back, but I'm at least here. You are probably sick of reading nothing but Segal. I know, he's funny, but hey, diversity is good.

So Segal has a new goal. Hmmm. Me wonders. How shall I top him? How can I take even more of his fame away? San Francisco? Maybe. Las Vegas? Perhaps. Full marathon? Well, maybe that's the ticket. Lets let Segal prance and dance his way through 13.1 while we go for the gusto yet again. Maybe, with enough training, enough time, enough oh I don't know, thoroughness, I can even eclipse his 5:06 time at Big Sur.

I know what you are thinking. Big talk from a guy who needed more than 6 hours to finish. But maybe, just maybe, this time it will be different.

Stay tuned. A new goal will also be announced right here in the coming days. Until then, happy trails and remember, GO CUBS!

Goal Time

It's time for a new goal.

At first, I thought that it would be cool to build and eat the largest French Dip sandwich, but then I worried that I would drown in the bathtub of au jus. So I decided that my new goat should be related to running.

So, I've decided to run the second half of the runner's world San Francisco Marathon in late July. And, just to make it interesting for myself, my goal is to run it in under two hours, 20 minutes less than my previous PR for that distance.

Go me!

Monday, May 16, 2005

A journey through the annals of self-sabotage

DistanceTimeRoutePace
5.355:42Home - Lovers Pt. - PG Track - Home10:31 mins./mi.


Fear manifests itself in the strangest ways.

In case, dear reader, you haven't noticed, I've been having a little trouble getting back on the training track since the big race. The immediate reasons are many -- sleeping late, making other plans, going out to dinner, dawdling at work, having a belly full of malt liquor -- basically, doing anything BUT training in earnest.

Those are the acute reasons. But what are the reasons beyond the reasons? Like Geraldo Rivera, I will now give the story behind the story. I think the real reasons are this: running is painful sometimes. Running is hard. At times, it is unpleasant, espcially in the first three miles. So here are the real reasons: I'm lazy and I'm afraid.

Today's run, my first outdoors, was a case in point. For four or five days, I had been promising myself I would get running today. And for four of five days, I've sat on my duff watcing repeats of Curb Your Enthusiasm and playing video games. It had to end.

This morning, I hit my snooze bar twice. I was running late. I couldn't find the armband to my ipod. Then I couldn't find my key. I wasted a half hour trying to get ready to run. I considered staying in, but I didn't know what I could write on this blog if I didn't run. After all, what's a running blog without running?

So I went out. And I ran. Down to the ocean, down the coast, up into the forest. And it hurt a little bit. And I huffed and puffed like Louie Anderson did when he found out The Family Feud was cancelled. But I ran my route. And I sweat. And I feel better now than I have in days.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Shrinking sack

Since I ran the marathon, I've found that my mailbag is shrinking. Sad!
Here's this week's.

Hello Jonathan,

I have been hearing rumors that you are training at high altitude. Rumors of ski-lift, snow and the like. As if the Pebble Beach, Poppy Hills were not enough. Oh great! I infer that you are going to do the Lake Tahoe Marathon this fall! I can't wait to read your new training diary for that one.

With warmest regards and a PR at Tahoe,

-- Mario
Pacific Grove

Jon-

Aha! You are now officially an exercise addict! That's it for you, sport, you're condemned to a lifetime of outdoor activity and good health mwahahahaha! Bet you weren't expecting THAT to happen when you signed up for Big Sur.
By the way, your example inspired me to change my run entry last Sunday from the 4km to the 8km - on Mothers' Day!!, (This race is held every year to raise money for breast cancer research and I usually run with my Mum).
What was I thinking? I'll tell you what I was thinking - I feel strong and happy and it's a beautiful autumn morning, and I want to see what I can do. And it wasn't so bad, either. Now it's 3 weeks until the 10km that I signed up for immediately after reading your blog - Satan does exist, in the guise of online run entries.
Have a lovely day,

Alison
Melbourne (Australia, not Florida)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Aaand, we're back.

DistanceTimeRoutePace
1.8 mi.18 mins.treadmill10 mins./mi.


Since I've gotten back from vacation, I've been a wreck. Fidgety, restless, generally pouty to be around. Two days ago, I developed a twitch in my right eye. Every time I spoke to someone, they thought I was winking at them.

Two different women slapped me for what they called "getting fresh," and I was found guilty of perjury while in court. (Full disclosure: All of the last sentence was made up.) But still, it was making me dizzy, blurring my vision, giving me a headache and generally making me a quivering, miserable wreck.

I needed to exercise. Since I thought my legs were too tender to handle running, I went to the gym and hopped onto an eliptical trainer, theoretically for an hour. And ya know what? It's not the same as running. Not even close. It's boring. There's no pain, just smooth, fluid movement, like running in an amniotic sack.

Well, I wasn't ready for a return to the womb yet. So, after a half-hour, I jumped off that trainer and jumped onto a treadmill and ran about two miles. When I got off, the twitchy was gone, the restlessness was gone. I felt like sanity had returned.

And I think I'll run again today, outside. So I'm back. And I'm loving it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Carnivale!

What?

The Longest Mile isn't enough to satiate your hunger for self-indulgent running diaries. Believe you me, I know a thing or two about insatiable hunger.

Well, I have a link for you. It's The Carnival of the Runners A weekly list of the best running blog posts from the past week or so, it rotates hosts every week.

In a couple weeks, it will be hosted here, but right now The Carnival of the Runners is at Naomi's place. Everybody loves a trip to the carnival, so unless you're afraid of carnies, check it out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Hey Jealousy

I am enflamed with envy. Jealousy is spreading through my loins.

Driving to work this morning, it was a typical glorious sunny day. Joggers abounded, putting one foot gracefully in front of the other, basking in their morning dance on the sidewalks and paths of Monterey County.

Why, oh, why can't I be among them? I have promised myself I will not run for another week, hoping to rid myself of pesky shinsplints once and for all. But I find myself missing it more and more. It could just be my imagination, but I'm beginning to suspect that my belly is starting to cast a slightly larger shadow over my belt than it was just a couple weeks ago.

I can't wait to get back out on the trails; that's both a surprising and scary thought to come flowing out of my sausage-like fingers. I guess it's a good sign for someone who used to look at runners and be filled with a smug sense of superiority: look at those idiots, they're out there sweating like suckers while I'm using this great car invention, bully for me!

Now, it's just a mixture of jealousy, pride and a feeling of belonging.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Dropping the M-bomb

Running a marathon is supposed to be its own reward. But the feeling of finishing is nothing compared to the opportunity it grants to those of us who are prone to bragging about ourselves.

The marathon is both an achievement and an excuse. It is a chance to impress and shock, and a chance to assure someone that, despite all appearances, you are really a dedicated athlete; your body the flesh equivalent of a Ducati motorcycle: fit, lean, built for speed.

Telling someone that you ran a marathon recently immediately changes the complexion of any conversation, demolishing the former subject like an explosion. Anytime you say, "I ran a marathon last weekend," you are dropping the M-Bomb.

A little ski-trip is the perfect opportunity to drop the M-bomb scores of times during the day. I used it often to impress strangers on the chairlift:

CHAIRLIFT CONVERSATION 1:

STRANGER: So, what brings you out to Colorado?

JON: I ran a marathon last week, and I thought I deserved a break.

STRANGER: You sir, are a god among men. (Although I never pictured god to be so overweight.)

-scene-

CHAIRLIFT CONVERSATION 2:

STRANGER: So, isn't the weather nice?

JON: The snow is nice and all, but this wind really reminds me of the wind on the course of the Big Sur Marathon, which I happened to run last week. Did I mention that it's the hardest major marathon in the U.S.?

STRANGER: Well, if you can run one, I guess anyone can,

-scene-

CHAIRLIFT CONVERSATION 3:

JON: Isn't this a big mountain.

ATTRACTIVE FEMALE SKI-BUM STRANGER: It's the highest in Summit County, 12.500 feet at the summit.

JON: Wow, that's just a little taller than Hurricane Point, a hill I had to run up when I ran the Big Sur Marathon last week. Did I mention I ran a marathon?

ATTRACTIVE FEMALE SKI-BUM STRANGER: I'm having a party tonight. Want to come and tell all of my very attractive friends about the marathon? I have a hot tub.

-scene-

Of course, the M-bomb doesn't always have to be used to impress people. It can also be used to re-assure people of your athletic prowess. Believe it or not, much of my ski trip was spent panting, trying to draw oxygen out of Colorado's Everest-thin air. I only blacked out twice while skiing, but my apparent discomfort prompted concerned strangers to inquire as to my well-being:

CONCERNED STRANGER: Are you okay there buddy?

JON (Panting): Yeah.

CONCERNED STRANGER: Then why are you coughing up blood onto the snow?

JON: I'm fine. (Cough. Cough.) I ran a marathon last weekend.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Shortest Vacation

As long as I'm not running for a bit, I figured I would take a quick vacation. And what better thing to do on a post-marathon vacation than ski?

Let's check: You have a magical chair suspended in the air that takes you up the mountain, and then you can slide down the mountain on breakneck speeds on slippery little sticks. This sounds nothing like running! Perfect.

Anyway, see ya on Monday!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

McGriddle? McGirdle?

As I continue my post-marathon decline, I've been less good about doing things like eating a wholesome breakfast everyday. Today, given the choice between getting to work a few minutes late, or going without a breakfast filled with toast, juice, milk and yummy, tasty generic-o's, I went without breakfast.

This, in turn, led to temptation.

On my way to work, I pass a McDonald's Restaurant. In the bad old days, before the marathon training, I would occaisionally stop at such an establishment. See, a year ago, the mad scientists at the McDonald's lab invented something that seems unparalelled in its deliciousness: the McGriddle. This ingenious McSandwich involved all the greatest things in a conveniently processed form: eggs, bacon and, of course, creamy, melted, yellow cheese-like substance.

But that wasn't all.

The greasy, slippery, salty mixture was squeezed between two biscuit-like sweet pastries. They weren't pastries, though, they were pancakes. Sweet, fluffy, pancakes.

Did they stop there? No.

They injected the pancakes with hot syrup that, for some reason, didn't make one's hands sticky when stuffing the McGriddle into one's McPiehole. It is a miracle of science. They should get the McDonald's food scientists to try to cure diseases. After the McGriddle, I'm sure cures for cancer and AIDS aren't far behind.

So, as I drove to work today, I passed the golden arches. They were flashing at me, singing a siren's song of fattening, delicious breakfast, tempting me like a pot of golden has browns at the end of a rainbow.

But I did not give in. I did not lose 20 pounds to stuff myself with McGriddle sandwiches and end up wearing a McGirdle.



Monday, May 02, 2005

Big Sur Blues

A little more than a week after the marathon. the post-race blues are starting to set in.

It's not so bad. I haven't taken to the bed with a box of Oreos, listening to old Radiohead albums on repeat and letting tears wear canyons on my chubby cheeks.

But the glory of last Sunday has all but worn off. That, coupled with the realization that I probably should take another two weeks off the trails to give my legs a chance to fully heal, has left me feeling just a little dumpy.

Yeah, I still walk around my house with my Big Sur International Marathon medal around my neck. Just yesterday, I forgot that I was wearing it and left the house with it on. After 10 minutes or so, I figured out why the neighborhood skate kids were staring at me. With that gigantic medallion hanging from my neck, I must have looked like a bigger, paler version of Flavor Flav.

So, maybe it's time to consider a new goal. Perhaps a half marathon in the summer (Runner's World SF?) and a full race in the fall (Twin Cities Marathon? New York Marathon?)

You can only bask in the glory of past achievements for so long. Like bathwater, if you lay in them too long, you'll start to shrivel up.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Running again (limping too)

DistanceTimeRoutePace
1.8 mi.19 mins.Lovers Point to MBAY Aquarium10:30 min./mi.


How could I lose so much in just seven days? I went out for a run today. Pump pump. Thump thump. Huff huff.

Guess what? Running's still hard. My shinsplints (mysteriously absent on race day) still hurt. I prescribe myself two weeks on the elyptical trainer and three trips through the Grand China Buffet.

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